I’ve just added some photos to the Cider making article, as we had a session of alcohol related jobs over the weekend. We strained & added sugar to our cider, & started a batch of Crabapple & date wine as well. Great projects for these  cold Southerly days. I’ve also started an experimental batch of cider vinegar, not sure how good this will turn out, it looks pretty weird.

In the garden, most things are huddling under ground still, but the little lupins are bravely growing, & the salad patch is looking very productive. I think it must be about time I dug up the Chicory plants & put them in pots to force. The leeks are still a bit small for eating, but seem to be growing alright, we have a surprise crop of Coriander coming up in between them which is really vigorous. The other self seeded bonus has been a patch of Tat-soi, we just pick the biggest plants & the smaller ones fill the gaps.It’s leaves are delicious in stir fry, Laksa, vege curries, almost anything in fact that has an oriental leaning.

In the flower garden the violets & primroses are just starting to bloom, & the lovely Hellebores. The Wintersweet is covered in buds again,  not long before we can bring sprigs ino the house. The herb garden needs a lot of work, pruning back frosted plants & weeding out the Speedwell, that’ll have to wait for some warmer weather!

We’ve cleaned out & pruned the soft fruit garden, just trimming the Red Currants a bit, & cutting the stems that fruited this year off of the Raspberries. The Strawbs need a bit of a sort out, cutting off dead leaves & taking out runners to plant in other gaps.

We bought a new ram & 2 ewes, Suffolks, which look very trim & tidy next to our rag tag girls, but some of those girls are starting to look decidedly portly, so it looks like there will be a few lambs. We took some lambs to the Stock Sales & were amazed to get $125 each for them, which was just as well as it covered the costs of the new sheep on the block.

The ruddy hens won’t sleep in their new, insulated house, preferring the draughty, half open one, I’m very peeved! I had been happily imagining them all cosy at night, but no…. perhaps it’s too dark in there?

The South wind doth blow, & we shall have snow, & what will poor chookies do then, they’ll roost in the shed & freeze half to death, & tuck their heads under their wings, poor things!